Are grandparents putting children's health at risk?

15 November, 2017, 22:09 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Syndicate Post image

Study finds grandparents are inadvertently having adverse impact on grandchildren's health, especially in areas of weight and diet.

There was also evidence the poverty and hunger some grandparents experienced themselves as children led them to believe extra weight was a sign of good health.

But Maureen Lipman, a grandmother of two, said: "The grandparents' job is always definitely to indulge".

The Glasgow team analysed data from 56 studies from 18 countries that included information about the influence of grandparents on their grandchildren.

The report focused on the potential influence of grandparents who were significant - but not primary - caregivers in a child's early years.

The studies reviewed showed grandparents described by parents as "indulgent" and "misinformed".

Many studies found they were inclined to feed grandchildren high-sugar or high-fat foods - often in the guise of a treat. It seems our parents are a bit too indulgent with our children, allowing them to eat more candies and be a little more careless. However, this does not remove the fact that grandparents could be damaging their grandchildren's health. Besides overfeeding, grandparents tend to protect kids from the slightest physical exertion.

None of the reviewed studies took into account the positive emotional benefit of children spending time with their grandparents, the authors said.

Free childcare
Grandparents are increasingly having to take on childcare roles

Dr Chambers said: "From the studies we looked at, it appears that parents often find it hard to discuss the issues of passive smoking and over-treating grandchildren".

"Behavior such as exposure to smoking and regularly treating children increases cancer risks as children grow into adulthood".

"Currently grandparents are not the focus of public health messaging targeted at parents. perhaps this is something that needs to change given the prominent role grandparents play in the lives of children", she added.

According to Grandparents Plus, grandparents are "the largest provider of informal childcare" in the United Kingdom and they need to be "better recognised and supported".

Lucy Peake, chief executive of the charity Grandparents Plus, said, 'Grandparents are the largest provider of informal childcare, and allow millions of parents stay in work by stepping in to help out.

Similarly, 25 studies suggested that children...

"Grandparents may be having a negative impact on the health of their grandchildren by giving them too much food and encouraging unhealthy habits, according to new research."

Professor Linda Bauld, of Cancer Research UK, said, "Children should never be exposed to second-hand smoke".

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